Yorkshire Chess History



Leeds v Liverpool Correspondence Matches, 1838-41











Made in Yorkshire



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From December 1838 to January 1841 the Leeds and Liverpool Chess Clubs contested two inter-club consultation matches by correspondence.  In each match there were two games, with Leeds playing White in one game and Liverpool playing White in the other.  George Walker was engaged to act as umpire in both matches.


During the early part to the middle of the 19th century, the bulk of the stronger players outside London were to be found at this time in the North of England.  The original Manchester Chess club had been formed in 1817, but it fizzled out at some time before these matches started.  This perhaps meant the Liverpool club had to look outside Lancashire for strong inter-club competition.  During the period of these matches, the second Manchester Chess Club was formed, in 1839.  Members of these two strong Lancashire clubs were frequent visitors to the annual meetings of the Yorkshire Chess Association (from 1841) and those of the West Yorkshire Chess Association, its successor as the local Yorkshire association (from 1856).


The Leeds players for the first match were Joshua Muff, Robert Cadman, John Rhodes, Robert Alexander Brown, Frederick Boscovitz, Robert Barr and John Darnton Luccock.  To these, T. Powell was added for the second match.  Liverpool’s initial group of players is not recorded by RA Brown, but he notes that Augustus Mongredien joined them for the second match.


The first match started on 20th December 1838.  The time limit was a maximum of twenty-one days each move, which is up to ten times slower than the typical modern rate between individuals.  After 34 moves in their game as Black, Liverpool resigned on 21st October 1839.  After 46 moves in the other game, Liverpool resigned on 10th November 1839.  Leeds thus won the first match 2-0.


The second match started on 18th November 1839.  For this match the time limit was reduced to a maximum of only fourteen days.  After 28 moves in their game as Black, Liverpool resigned on 5th November 1840.  After 33 moves, the remaining game was agreed drawn on 21st January 1841.  Leeds thus won the second match 1½-½.






Match 1:








Match 2:










The Leeds Mercury of 30th January 1841 reported on the conclusion of the match as follows:


We are glad to be able to state that the games have been conducted in a very kindly spirit, - the office of umpire, held by Mr. George Walker, of London, being quite a sinecure.


The Leeds club continues to prosper, and any gentleman desirous of learning the game is readily admitted, by applying to any officer or member of the club.  The position which the Leeds club has attained in the chess world, by thus beating a club which has for its president one of the best players in the Westminster Club, and containing such a list of “strong men and true,” reflects great credit upon the superior skill and science of the committee engaged in conducting the match.


Some, of the games, at least, were published in the Leeds Mercury at their conclusion.  All four games with details of the match were given by RA Brown, one of the players, among the games he appended to his 1844 book Chess Problems, on pages 108 to 112.  The games were also listed by George Walker in his Chess Studies, also of 1844, on p.73.


Leeds-Liverpool Correspondence Consultation Match 1, Game 1, Leeds & Liverpool

White: Leeds Chess Club, Black: Liverpool Chess Club, 1838-39

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Qf6 5. c3 dxc3 6. Nxc3 h6 7. O-O d6 8. Qb3 Na5 9. Qa4+ Nc6 10. Bd2 Be6 11. Nd5 Qd8 12. Ba6 Qc8 13. Ba5 Bxd5 14. exd5 Ne7 15. Nd4 Kd8 16. Bxb7 Qxb7 17. dxc6 Qc8 18. Nb5 Nd5 19. Qe4 Qe6 20. Qf3 Nb6 21. Re1 Qg6 22. Bxb6 axb6 23. Re8+ Kxe8 24. Nxc7+ Kd8 25. Nxa8 d5 26. Qxd5+ Bd6 27. c7+ Kc8 28. Rc1 Bc5 29. Nxb6+ Qxb6 30. Rxc5 Qa6 31. Ra5 Qb7 32. Ra8+ Kxc7 33. Qxb7+ Kxb7 34. Rxh8 Liverpool resigned, 1-0 1

Leeds-Liverpool Correspondence Consultation Match 1, Game 2, Leeds & Liverpool

White: Liverpool Chess Club, Black: Leeds Chess Club, 1838-39

1. e4 e6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Be2 Qb6 6. d3 f6 7. c3 Nh6 8. exf6 gxf6 9. Nh4 Bd7 10. Bh5+ Kd8 11. Qc2 Rg8 12. Be3 Rc8 13. Nd2 Nd4 14. Bxd4 cxd4 15. c4 Bb4 16. Be2 Ng4 17. Bxg4 Rxg4 18. g3 dxc4 19. dxc4 Bxd2+ 20. Qxd2 Rxc4 21. Nf3 e5 22. Rd1 Bf5 23. Qe2 Rc2 24. Rd2 Qxb2 25. Rxc2 Qxc2 26. Qxc2 Bxc2 27. fxe5 Be4 28. Rf1 Bxf3 29. Rxf3 fxe5 30. Rf5 Rg7 31. Rxe5 Re7 32. Re2 Kd7 33. Kd2 Rxe2+ 34. Kxe2 Kd6 35. Kd3 Ke5 36. g4 Kf4 37. g5 Kxg5 38. Kxd4 h5 39. Kd5 Kg4 40. Kd6 Kh3 41. Kc7 Kxh2 42. Kxb7 Kg3 43. Kxa7 h4 44. Kb8 h3 45. a4 h2 46. a5 h1=Q and wins, 0-1 1

Leeds-Liverpool Correspondence Consultation, Match 2, Game 1, Leeds & Liverpool

White: Leeds Chess Club, Black: Liverpool Chess Club, 1839-41

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 Nxd4 4. Nxe5 Ne6 5. Bc4 c6 6. Bxe6 Qa5+ 7. Nd2 dxe6 8. Nc4 Qc7 9. O-O b5 10. Ne3 Bd6 11. h3 Ne7 12. b3 Be5 13. Rb1 O-O 14. c4 a6 15. Nf3 Bd6 16. Bb2 Ng6 17. Qc2 c5 18. Rd1 b4 19. h4 f6 20. Ng4 f5 21. exf5 exf5 22. Ne3 Bb7 23. Nxf5 Bxf3 24. Rxd6 Bg4 25. Nh6+ Kh8 26. Rxg6 hxg6 27. Nxg4 Qf4 28. Ne5 Liverpool resigned, 1-0 1

Leeds-Liverpool Correspondence Consultation, Match 2, Game 2, Leeds & Liverpool

White: Liverpool Chess Club, Black: Leeds Chess Club, 1839-41

1. e4 c5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 e6 4. c3 d5 5. e5 f6 6. Bd3 Nh6 7. Bc2 Bd7 8. O-O Qb6 9. Kh1 Be7 10. d4 f5 11. a3 a5 12. h3 O-O 13. b3 Be8 14. Be3 cxd4 15. Nxd4 Bc5 16. Nd2 Nxd4 17. cxd4 Bxd4 18. Nc4 dxc4 19. Bxd4 Qa6 20. Bc5 Rf7 21. bxc4 Qxc4 22. Bd6 Qc8 23. Rc1 Bc6 24. Ba4 Rd7 25. Bxc6 bxc6 26. Qa4 Qa6 27. Qxc6 Ra7 28. Rf3 Nf7 29. Bc7 a4 30. Rfc3 Qxc6 31. Rxc6 Re8 32. Rb6 g5 33. fxg5 Nxg5 draw agreed, ½-½ 1, 2



1 Chess Problems, RA Brown, 1844, p.107 et seq.

2 Leeds Mercury, 30 Jan 1841





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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